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Asian stocks struggle higher, lack conviction

Man looks at an electronic board displaying Japan's Nikkei average and various countries' stock indices outside a brokerage in Tokyo By Wayne Cole SYDNEY (Reuters) - Asian share markets eked out gains on Thursday as dovish comments from the head of the U.S. Federal Reserve combined with an upbeat economic assessment from the central bank to lift Wall Street for a third straight session. However, disappointing results from Google and IBM knocked their shares lower after the bell and could crimp technology stocks in the region. Indeed, the tech and telecoms sectors in Japan's Nikkei were in the red on Thursday, nudging the overall index down 0.2 percent following a 3 percent jump the previous session. Other markets fared better with shares in Australia up 0.5 percent and MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan adding 0.33 percent.


Ernesto Zedillo: Director of the Day

Ernesto Zedillo: Director of the Day Co-authored with Arthur Phillips, research associate at the Center for Economic and Policy Research. Directorships, 2008 - 2012: 5* Total director compensation, 2008 - 2012: $3,626,109** Average annual director compensation, 2008 - 2012: $725,222 Average compensation per full year of service as director: $244,276 *Zedillo was a director of the Electronic Data Systems Corporation from October 2007 to August 2008; however, compensation for his service in 2008 is not available and therefore not included in the above calculations. ...


IBM posts lower 1Q earnings amid hardware slump

FILE - This Tuesday, July 16, 2013, file photo, shows an IBM logo in Berlin, Vt. IBM reports quarterly financial results after the market close on Wednesday, April 16, 2014. (AP Photo/Toby Talbot, File) NEW YORK (AP) — IBM's first-quarter earnings fell and revenue came in below Wall Street's expectations amid an ongoing decline in its hardware business, one that was exacerbated by weaker demand in China and emerging markets.


Google misses revenue target, ad prices slide

Photo illustration of Google logo is reflected on the screen of a Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone By Alexei Oreskovic SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Google Inc's first-quarter revenue fell short of Wall Street targets and margins narrowed as the price of its ads continued to decline, underscoring the challenges Internet companies face as the world shifts toward mobile devices. Shares of Google were down 3 percent to $539.80 in afterhours trading on Wednesday, after initially sliding roughly 6 percent on the news. The number of "paid clicks" by consumers on Google's ads increased by 26 percent in the first quarter, disappointing some analysts who had hoped for stronger volume growth. And the average "cost per click" declined 9 percent, extending a downward trend as mobile advertising, typically cheaper than traditional online ads, make up a bigger slice of its business.


Home sales of $10 million rise in Connecticut town

This photo provided by David Ogilvy & Associates shows Copper Beech Farm. The 12-bedroom waterfront estate on 50 acres in wealthy Greenwich has been sold for $120 million. Even though that's $70 million under Copper Beech Farm's initial listing price, real estate agent David Ogilvy tells the Greenwich Time he believes the sum is the most ever paid for a residential property in the United States. The paperwork finalizing the sale to a limited liability company was filed Friday April 10, 2014. NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) — Connecticut's Gold Coast is living up to its name, with a record $120 million sale of a waterfront estate in Greenwich leading an increase in sales of homes for more than $10 million.


Bank of America's financial crisis costs become a recurring nightmare

A Bank of America sign is shown on a building in downtown Los Angeles, California Bank of America Corp's financial crisis hangover is lasting longer than expected, leading some investors to wonder if the massive litigation expenses being incurred have become a recurring cost of doing business instead of being dismissed as one-time items. The bank on Wednesday posted $6 billion of litigation costs for its first quarter, far exceeding the $3.7 billion of settlement costs that investors had previously known about. Since the 2008-2009 financial crisis, Bank of America has announced some $50 billion of settlements, before taxes. Litigation expenses in four of the five quarters since the start of 2013 have exceeded $1 billion.


Jeep exec says will have deal for China production by end April

Mike Manley, President and CEO of the Jeep Brand, speaks at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit Fiat Chrysler Automobiles will announce an agreement by the end of April to allow production of Jeep models in China, the head of the Jeep brand, Mike Manley, said on Wednesday. He said if not in time for Beijing, the announcement would "come before the end of the month." Fiat Chrysler would produce the Jeep models at a plant it operates with its Chinese joint-venture partner, Guangzhou Automobile Group Co . The plant is in Changsha, capital of the Hunan province, where Fiat produces the Viaggio. Fiat Chrysler has not officially said which Jeep product would be the first to be made at Changsha, but it has strongly hinted it would be the Cherokee, which was introduced in the United States about a year ago.


IBM's quarterly revenue sinks to 5-year low as hardware sales fall

A man walks past the headquarters of IBM Japan in Tokyo IBM Corp reported its lowest quarterly revenue in five years on Wednesday as the company struggles with falling demand for its storage and server products. Revenue from the hardware business, which includes servers and systems storage, plunged 23 percent to $2.4 billion. IBM has been restructuring its business, with job reductions and the sale of its low-end server business to Chinese PC maker Lenovo Group Ltd for $2.3 billion in January, in efforts to achieve its targeted operating earnings of $20 per share by 2015. IBM warned that its hardware business may continue to face hurdles.


Leash on expenses helps AmEx counter muted user spending

An American Express sign is seen on a restaurant door in New York American Express Co's quarterly profit beat analysts' average estimate as a tighter control on expenses helped make up for slower growth in consumer spending in its key U.S. market. However, Chief Financial Officer Jeff Campbell said on a post-earnings conference call that the business had grown through the second half of the quarter as the weather improved. For a graphic on the company's U.S. billed business growth over the past four years, click (http://link.reuters.com/dyx58v) American Express, which issues its own cards unlike rivals such as Visa Inc and Mastercard Inc , benefits from its largely affluent customers' consistent spending and low default rates. The company's focus on affluent consumers should help drive growth as such customers in the United States spend 6 times more on their cards, Janney Capital Markets analyst Sameer Gokhale wrote in a note in February.


Google's 1Q earnings disappoint as ad prices slip

This April 9 2014 photo shows the Google logo at a store in Hialeah, Fla. Google reports quarterly financial results after the market close on Wednesday, April 16, 2014. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz) SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Google's first-quarter earnings growth faltered as the Internet's most influential company grappled with a persistent downturn in advertising prices while spending more money to hire employees and invest in daring ideas.


GM to seek court protection against ignition lawsuits

A man walks past a row of General Motors vehicles at a Chevrolet dealership on Woodward Avenue in Detroit, Michigan GM has said it is protected from liability for claims related to incidents that occurred before it exited bankruptcy in 2009, and has taken steps to raise those issues with the court by filing motions to stay recall-related lawsuits while it asks that bankruptcy court to clarify the extent of that protection. In a filing with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas on Tuesday, GM asked for a stay on litigation related to ignition claims until a judicial panel on multidistrict litigation decides on a motion to consolidate the case with other lawsuits and the bankruptcy court rules on whether the claims violate GM's 2009 bankruptcy sale order. The company earlier filed a similar motion with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California seeking a stay on pending litigation. The defect has been linked to the deaths of at least 13 people and the recall of 2.6 million GM vehicles.


The Democratizing Power of Crowdfunding and the JOBS Act

The Democratizing Power of Crowdfunding and the JOBS Act While the democratizing power of crowdfunding will certainly help the next generation of founders, the benefits of greater market freedom will reach well beyond company founders.


On the Meaning of Entrepreneurship

On the Meaning of Entrepreneurship The path to starting and scaling a venture-backed business is defined by a series of hurdles and gateways that become more challenging as you move through each one.


Hot models at this year's New York Auto Show

The 2015 Hyundai Sonata is introduced at the New York International Auto Show, Wednesday, April 16, 2014 in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan) NEW YORK (AP) — With more than 1 million visitors annually, the New York International Auto Show is one of the most important shows for the U.S. auto industry. Here are some of the vehicles debuting this year. The show opens to the public Friday.


Obama, Biden announce $600M for job grants

President Barack Obama is introduced by Vice President Joe Biden as he arrives at the Community College of Allegheny County West Hills Center in Oakdale, Pa., Wednesday, April 16, 2014. The visit was to promote the administration's Opportunity for All program to train the work force for careers in fields with a growing demand. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar) OAKDALE, Pa. (AP) — Emphasizing skills training as key to a growing middle class, President Barack Obama on Wednesday announced $600 million in competitive grants to spur creation of targeted training and apprenticeship programs to help people land good-paying jobs.


Wall Street gains on Yellen comments and Yahoo; BofA falls

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange By Ryan Vlastelica NEW YORK (Reuters) - Stocks rose 1 percent on Wednesday, advancing for a third straight session as Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen reaffirmed the central bank's commitment to keeping interest rates low and Yahoo rallied. Data showing Chinese economic growth exceeded expectations and U.S. industrial production rose for a second straight month also improved sentiment, though Bank of America and CSX Corp sold off following their results. Yellen, speaking in New York, reaffirmed the Fed's commitment to keep interest rates low, even after ending its bond-buying program, as long as inflation remains below target and unemployment elevated. "These comments, while nothing out of the ordinary, reiterated the Fed's commitment to accommodative monetary policy, which is helping investors remember that there are more tailwinds than headwinds in the economy," said Kristina Hooper, head of U.S. capital markets research and strategy at Allianz Global Investors in New York.


Some exempted from minimum wage, increased or not

FILE - This April 2, 2014 file photo shows Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, right, accompanied by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nev., left, and others, urging approval for raising the minimum wage, during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. When the Senate debates a Democratic proposal to raise the federal minimum wage, some workers won’t benefit even if lightning strikes and the long-shot effort prevails. More than a dozen categories of workers are exempt from the current $7.25-an-hour minimum, running from casual babysitters to some workers with disabilities to crews on fishing ships. The bill by Harkin, would gradually raise the minimum to $10.10 by 2016 but doesn’t close any loopholes, which also include live-in companions for the elderly, staffs of state and local elected officials and jobs at summer camps and seasonal amusement parks. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File) WASHINGTON (AP) — Some low-paid workers won't benefit even if a long-shot Democratic proposal to raise the federal minimum wage becomes law.


Be Careful What You Wish For

Be Careful What You Wish For I have the pleasure of working with many teams each year on how to shorten sales cycles, avoid pricing pressure and accelerate growth. I was working with a top-performing group recently. This past quarter they crushed their goals.


Planning for Summer

Planning for Summer Besides looking forward to taking a much needed vacation -- if you're lucky enough to schedule one this year -- you should be thinking about how your business can capitalize in what for many companies is a slow season. In fact, the following planning tools can be utilized by any business with a slow season.


US stocks close higher for third day in a row

FILE- In this Friday, June 29, 2012, file photo Specialists Frank Masello, left, and John T. O'Hara work on the trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange in New York shortly before the closing bell. World stock markets rose Wednesday April 16, 2014 as China's slowdown in the first quarter was less severe than expected. (AP Photo/David Karp, File) Investors drove stock prices to their highest level in a week Wednesday, encouraged by a crop of corporate earnings and reassuring U.S. and Chinese economic data.


Why high oil prices are actually good for airlines

FILE - In this June 12, 2008 file photo, a worker hooks up a fuel hose to an airplane at Tampa International Airport in Tampa, Fla. Airline executives frequently complain about fuel costs. But the truth is higher prices actually have been good for business. (AP Photo/Brian McDermott, File) NEW YORK (AP) — Airline executives frequently complain about fuel costs. But the truth is higher prices actually have been good for business.


Weak U.S. prices, not inflation, the threat now: Fed's Yellen

U.S. Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen speaks to the Economic Club of New York in New York By Jonathan Spicer NEW YORK (Reuters) - Persistently low inflation poses a more immediate threat to the U.S. economy than rising prices, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said on Wednesday, stressing that the U.S. central bank would be delivering policy stimulus for some time to come. In her second public speech since taking the Fed's helm, Yellen was careful not to predict when interest rates would rise from near zero. Instead, she stressed the decision would hinge on healing in the labor market and on how briskly inflation rises toward the Fed's 2 percent goal. Yellen's relatively staid remarks to the Economic Club of New York intensified somewhat when Martin Feldstein, a Harvard University professor and former adviser to President Ronald Reagan, asked her whether she would let inflation creep above 2 percent to give the economy a bit more support.


Looking Beyond Today: Securing Your Employees' Retirement Future and Your Bottom Line

Looking Beyond Today: Securing Your Employees' Retirement Future and Your Bottom Line April marks Financial Literacy Month. It's the perfect opportunity for employers to start providing financial education programs to employees, and for employees to ask about the benefits they receive and education that's available in their workplace.


Pregnant Worker Says Pier 1 Imports Forced Her To Take Unpaid Leave

Pregnant Worker Says Pier 1 Imports Forced Her To Take Unpaid Leave A pregnant worker has filed a lawsuit challenging Pier 1 Imports' policies toward expectant mothers, saying the home-goods retailer forced her to take unpaid leave due to her pregnancy. In her suit filed in California state court on Wednesday, Kimberly Erin Caselman argues that the company's practice of providing pregnant workers with eight weeks of light duty and then placing them on leave runs afoul of state discrimination laws. Caselman told HuffPost that she could have kept performing her job with a few small accommodations. ...


Fed survey: Growth picks up across most of US

WASHINGTON (AP) — A Federal Reserve survey shows economic growth picking up across most of the United States over the past two months as bitter winter weather subsided.

The Daily Innovator: It's Not Who You Know But How They Think

The Daily Innovator: It's Not Who You Know But How They Think Students of reasoning styles can boost their success at convincing others of the wisdom of a new idea by identifying and adapting to the logic filters of decision makers. Sizing up a situation realistically lets us know what to expect when we're pitching a new idea, and how to make the most of it.


Marooned in Middle Management? Something Is Missing

Marooned in Middle Management? Something Is Missing These talented employees have frequently done everything asked of them, and they've done it well. And yet, they just don't seem to be good candidates for leadership.


5 Reasons You Absolutely Must Optimize Your Website for Mobile

5 Reasons You Absolutely Must Optimize Your Website for Mobile Shoppers have little patience for an unwieldy website and one-third of them will leave a transaction if the site isn't optimized for mobile.


Matt Taibbi: America Has A 'Profound Hatred Of The Weak And The Poor'

Matt Taibbi: America Has A 'Profound Hatred Of The Weak And The Poor' Living in America has taught Matt Taibbi that we as a society have "a profound hatred of the weak and the poor." That's one claim the former Rolling Stone writer makes in his new book, "The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap." Taibbi defended this statement in a HuffPost Live interview on Tuesday. "Any American understands that there's this tremendous pressure to succeed and we think about people, for instance, who are on the welfare system and we think of them without compassion," he told host Alyona Minkovski. "We think of them as unsympathetic characters because


U.S. industry shows some vigor, but housing soft

Workers install a roof on a multi-family building in Broomfield By Lucia Mutikani WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. industrial production rose at a faster-than-expected clip in March, the latest sign the economy was gaining momentum. Groundbreaking for new homes also increased but remained well below the post-recession peak hit in November, signaling the drag the housing market is placing on the economy. "We are still on track for very strong second-quarter growth." Output at the nation's factories, mines and utilities rose 0.7 percent last month after an upwardly revised gain of 1.2 percent in February, the Federal Reserve said on Wednesday. The increase in industrial production, which beat economists' expectations for a 0.5 percent gain, reflected in part a 0.5 percent rise in manufacturing output.


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